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Evolve your hiring strategy in tough times: 7 webinar lessons

Workable joined forces with Checkr and Deel to discuss strategies for hiring in economic headwinds.

Alexandros Pantelakis
Alexandros Pantelakis

HR content specialist at Workable, delivering in-depth, data-driven articles to offer insights into industry and tech trends.

hiring strategy in tough times

With a panel of experienced HR professionals, we aimed to offer insights around hiring practices, the importance of onboarding, employee retention, and the challenges of establishing a hiring strategy in tough times.

Also discussed: the need to focus on maintaining a human touch in the hiring process, the use of technology in recruitment, and the idea of promoting from within.

Don’t worry if you missed the webinar. We’ve got you covered offering all the important tips to help you hire better, surpassing the economic headwinds.

Better hiring practices – the takeaways

Let’s delve deeper into each of the major takeaways of the webinar:

1. Empathy is key

The hiring process isn’t just about filling a position. It’s about understanding the human element behind each application. Empathy plays a pivotal role in ensuring that candidates feel valued and understood especially when creating a hiring strategy in tough times.

It’s essential to put oneself in the shoes of the applicant. Consider their journey, the challenges they might face, and the anxieties they might have.

“From the recruiting perspective, we try to create a timeline of each department’s process, leading with empathy. It’s really just putting ourselves in the shoes of the candidates and understanding if this recruiting process is enjoyable for us,” Dave Deguzman, Head of Recruitment at Ylopo, comments.

By approaching the hiring process with empathy, HR professionals can foster a more inclusive, understanding, and efficient recruitment process.

Jordan Greenstreet, Sr. Partner Marketing Manager at Checkr adds: “From the Checkr perspective, our whole mission is fair chance hiring. It’s built on the premise that everyone, regardless of their background, has the right to be fairly assessed for the role that they’re qualified for.”

This not only enhances the candidate’s experience but also positively impacts the company’s brand in the job market.

2. Dealing with inundated qualified candidates

When a job posting is inundated with qualified candidates, it’s crucial to maintain a transparent, communicative, and empathetic recruitment process. Firstly, leverage technology to ensure timely communication.

Automated emails can be set up to acknowledge receipt of applications, providing candidates with a clear expectation of the timeline for feedback.

For instance, if a match is identified, the candidate could be informed within a set number of days. If not, a courteous rejection email should be sent.

While it’s disappointing to receive a rejection, it’s preferable to being left in the dark.

Setting clear expectations from the outset ensures candidates are not left waiting indefinitely.

Additionally, personalizing communication, even if it’s automated, can make a significant difference in how the company is perceived.

Remember, word of mouth is powerful; candidates will share their experiences with peers. The recruitment process should align with the company’s brand, ensuring every interaction reflects the company’s values and ethos.

Deanna Baumgardner, President at Employers Advantage, agrees that “it sucks to get a thanks note but it’s better than getting nothing. Even if it’s not as easy as a click of a button, I think the investment in the time that it takes to communicate with candidates is worth it”.

3. Onboarding is crucial

The initial days of a new hire are critical in setting the tone for their entire tenure at the company.

Effective onboarding goes beyond just introducing a new hire to their role.

It’s about integrating them into the company culture, ensuring they have the necessary resources, and providing continuous support.

Deanna Baumgardner states: “It’s really just planning ahead. Plan through the recruiting process to know who is involved, what is each person’s role in the recruiting process, and what specifically are you looking for from your candidates.”

Especially in remote settings, where face-to-face interactions are limited, HR professionals should prioritize regular check-ins, assign mentors or buddies, and provide clear documentation and training materials.

“One thing I think about when it comes to onboarding is that it is the most important aspect of a team member’s lifecycle experience when they join the company. Having a solid onboarding experience is especially crucial when working remotely,” Nadia Alaee, senior director human resources business partner at Deel, comments.

4. Promoting from within

Internal growth and development are essential for employee satisfaction and retention.

Encouraging and facilitating internal promotions can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased loyalty, and better overall morale.

HR professionals should ensure that employees are aware of potential career paths within the organization, offer training and development opportunities, and maintain open communication about potential growth opportunities.

As Melissa Escobar-Franco, VP of HR in Workable, puts it: “We really want everyone here at Workable to see that they have a career here, that they have a career path in place. We want to keep people on board for longer, while still having a healthy turnover rate.”

5. Challenges of global hiring

Hiring across different geographic locations presents its own set of unique challenges and considerations when your are implementing your hiring strategy in tough times.

When hiring globally, it’s crucial to be aware of cultural nuances, local employment laws, and compensation standards.

Additionally, with varying time zones and work cultures, HR professionals need to ensure that communication remains consistent and that all employees, regardless of location, feel integrated into the company culture.

Lastly, the time between the signing of the job offer and the starting date is crucial. Especially, when hiring from abroad, these times may increase.

Nadia Alaee offers her view on this: “We’re keeping them excited about the deal, sending them any sort of documentation they can start, introducing them to team members. Having the hiring manager have a touchpoint with them on a cadence that makes sense to make sure that they’re still really excited even though it’s two or three months away”.

6. Gamifying recognition

Gamification can be a powerful tool to foster a culture of appreciation and acknowledgment within an organization.

Implementing gamified recognition systems, like awarding points or badges for achievements, can motivate employees and encourage positive behaviors.

However, it’s essential to ensure that such systems don’t inadvertently create a competitive or exclusionary environment. The focus should always remain on fostering collaboration and appreciation.

Dave Deguzman shares his experience at Ylopo: “we typically give people five tacos a day to offer. We have the reward store, but we really focus on the gamification around. We’re trying to foster a culture of recognition and giving rather than a popularity contest of the one who receives the most tacos. So it’s the people that are appreciating the most versus the popularity.”

7. Using technology in hiring

While technology can streamline the hiring process, it’s essential to balance automation with a human touch.

Leveraging technology in recruitment, like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or AI-driven screening tools, can make the process more efficient.

However, HR professionals should be wary of over-relying on these tools. It’s essential to maintain a personal touch, ensuring that candidates have a point of human contact and don’t feel lost in an automated system.

Deanna Baumgardner comments: “Technology creates a lot of efficiency and it can bring people to the surface or it can eliminate people that aren’t qualified. But we need to take the time to remember that there is somebody on the other end who is a human trying to get their next job and to create a livelihood for themselves and their families”.

By understanding and implementing these insights while crafting your hiring strategy in tough times, HR professionals can enhance their hiring practices, ensuring a more efficient, inclusive, and empathetic recruitment process during economic headwinds.

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